The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services have confirmed two additional cases of Zika virus. That brings the total number of cases of Zika confirmed in Missouri to six.
One case is a male Missouri resident who had traveled to the Dominican Republic. Another is a male Massachusetts resident visiting Missouri who sought assistance from a health care provider. The Massachusetts resident had traveled to Puerto Rico.
Officials from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services have been in contact with their counterparts in Massachusetts.
Nearly 80% of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. Typically, symptoms are mild and include fever, rash, joint soreness and/or redness of eyes.
International health officials have found a connection between pregnant women contracting the virus and a birth defect called microcephaly in their newborn infants. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), babies with microcephaly often have smaller head sizes and brains that might not have developed properly.
According to the CDC, Zika virus has the potential to be spread through a mosquito bite, through unprotected sexual contact, through blood transfusion and an infected pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy.
There is not currently a vaccine for the virus.
There have been no reported cases of the virus contracted from a mosquito bite in Missouri. Ways to avoid mosquito bites while outdoors include wearing EPA-registered insect repellent with DEET, wearing pants and long sleeves, or remaining indoors in an air conditioned environment.
The CDC is recommending pregnant women avoid traveling to Zika-affected areas which include countries ranging from Mexico into the Caribbean, Central American and South America.
Since the beginning of the year, DHSS has regularly updated health care providers and the public about Zika virus in addition to coordinating the approval of Missourians for testing by the CDC.
Please consult CDC resources for a listing of all areas and other information about Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/